- The 18 Democratic candidates vying to take on President Donald Trump in 2020 are reacting strongly to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report – and Attorney General William Barr’s framing of the findings.
- The 448-page report said Mueller’s team didn’t find sufficient evidence to bring a charge of conspiracy against anyone involved in the Trump campaign and did not come to a “traditional prosecutorial decision” as to whether Trump had committed obstruction of justice.
- While 2020 Democrats are unlikely to make Trump-Russia investigations a major campaign issue, the report will likely serve as campaign-trail fodder for the Democrats hoping to defeat Trump.
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The 18 Democratic candidates vying to take on President Donald Trump in 2020 are reacting strongly to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report – and to Attorney General William Barr’s framing of Mueller’s findings.
During the 2018 midterms, Democratic candidates running for Congress mainly focused their messaging around issues like health care, taxes, and education – deferring on taking a stance on whether Trump should be impeached until after seeing the report.
Inthe 448-page report, released Thursday, the special counsel team said they did not find sufficient evidence to bring a charge of conspiracy against anyone involved in the Trump campaign for illegally coordinating with Russia to influence the 2016 US election.
The report also said that while Mueller’s team did not make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” as to whether Trump obstructed the Mueller probe itself and other federal investigations involving him, they could not “exonerate” him on allegations of obstruction of justice.
Mueller’s report detailed 11 separate instances they examined for possible obstruction of justice – but said that by not executing his wishes, Trump’s own aides and advisers stopped him from possibly committing more clear-cut obstruction.
By all accounts, 2020 Democrats are still unlikely to center their campaign messages around the Trump-Russia investigations.
But the report’s murky conclusions on obstruction – and their conclusion that the Trump campaign believed they would benefit from Russian interference in the 2016 election – will likely serve as campaign-trail fodder for the Democrats hoping to defeat Trump in 2020.
Here are the presidential candidates who have weighed in so far on the Mueller report, and what they’ve said:
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote, “It is clear that Donald Trump wanted nothing more than to shut down the Mueller investigation. While we have more detail from today’s report than before, Congress must continue its investigation into Trump’s conduct and any foreign attempts to influence our election.”
Foto: Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during the National Action Network Convention in New York, Friday, April 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)sourceAssociated Press
Source: Bernie Sanders/Twitter
Sen. Kamala Harris, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said: “Congress needs to see the full, unredacted Mueller report and all of the investigation’s underlying evidence — and Special Counsel Robert Mueller must testify publicly before Congress.”
Foto: Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks at the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit, Friday, March 1, 2019, in Las Vegas.sourceAP Photo/John Locher
Source: Kamala Harris/Twitter
Sen. Cory Booker, also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said: “The American people deserve the truth. Not spin from a Trump appointee. Release Mueller’s full report now.”
Foto: U.S. Sen. Cory BookersourceJulio Cortez/AP
Source: Cory Booker/Twitter
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “The Mueller report is a disturbing if not completely surprising collection of evidence that shows a president putting his own interests ahead of the country’s. Today again demonstrates why we need to change the channel in 2020.”
Foto: Pete Buttigieg speaking at the National Conference of Mayors in 2019.sourceYuri Gripas/Reuters
Source: Pete Buttigieg/Twitter
Sen. Elizabeth Warren said: “Congress needs to see the full, unredacted report. Special Counsel Robert Mueller should testify before Congress and the American people as soon as possible.”
Foto: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to supporters in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. March 17, 2019.sourceReuters/Karen Pulfer
Source: Elizabeth Warren/Twitter
Former HUD Secretary Julían Castro said: “Far from exonerating anyone, the Special Counsel report exposes disgraceful behavior by Donald Trump and his inner circle—both in seeking assistance from Russia & attempting to cover it up. Mueller should testify and Congress should investigate charges of obstruction of justice.”
Foto: In this June 22, 2018, file photo, Julian Castro speaks at the start of the general session at the Texas Democratic Convention in Fort Worth, Texas.sourceRichard W. Rodriguez, File via AP
Source: Julian Castro/Twitter
“It sounds like the report suggests the President obstructed justice, but Barr excused him of that because the President was frustrated by the critical coverage he was receiving from the press. That’s not a temperament worthy of the President of the United States. Anger cannot be a defense for a President defying the rule of law,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell.
Foto: sourceAlex Edelman/Getty Images
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said: “Attorney General Barr has made it clear he is not impartial when it comes to this investigation. Now that we have the report we should hear from Robert Mueller himself in public hearings. Our democracy demands it.”
Foto: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) attends the Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund forum in Washington, U.S., March 5, 2019.sourceReuters/Jim Young
Source: Amy Klobuchar/Twitter
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said “AG Barr should work to protect the interests of the people, not the President. It’s clear from this morning’s press conference where his allegiances lie. The American people deserve answers.”
Foto: Former Democratic Colorado Governor John HickenloopersourceAssociated Press
Source: John Hickenlooper/Twitter
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang said, “I am glad that the Mueller Report has been made public. It’s important to the American people. My focus is on beating Donald Trump at the ballot box and solving the problems that got him elected in the first place.”
Foto: Andrew Yang speaking in Iowa.source(AP Photo/Seth Wenig
Source: Andrew Yang/Twitter
Rep. John Delaney wrote: “the one conclusion that every American should reach from the Mueller report is that we are better than this. We deserve a President free on conflicts, conducting themselves with honor and integrity, and possessing a moral compass that guides their actions. We have to win in 2020.”
Foto: In this Nov. 6, 2012, file photo, then-Rep.elect John Delaney, D-Md. speaks at an election night victory party in Potomac, Md.sourceAssociated Press
Source: John Delaney/Twitter
Marianne Williamson wrote, “Using the role of AG for purposes of political messaging is a degradation of the office; William Barr has shown himself to be just another political lackey who serves to do the President’s bidding above all else. The president said he wanted a Roy Cohn and apparently he found it.”
Foto: Marianne Williamson during her 2014 congressional campaignsourceTed Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images
Source: Marianne Williamson/Twitter
Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan said, “special Counsel Robert Mueller should be called to testify before Congress. No more summaries, no more redactions – the American people deserve complete transparency. Full stop,”
Foto: Rep. Tim Ryan, D-OhiosourceNati Harnik/AP
Source: Rep. Tim Ryan
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote: “We can’t trust Trump’s handpicked AG to be transparent about the Mueller report. Congress needs to see it in full—and the public needs to know whether Trump obstructed justice.”
Foto: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.sourceAlex Wong/Getty Images
Source: Kirsten Gillibrand/Twitter